All posts | January 19, 2024

What Age for First Dental Appointment?

by Dr. Liel Grinbaum

What Age for First Dental Appointment?

Deciding when to schedule your child's first dental appointment is an important parenting decision. At Smiles and Grins, we recommend bringing infants in before their first birthday for an introductory visit with one of our pediatric dentists. 

Early dental visits help reduce anxiety about going to the dentist, allow our doctors to monitor tooth development, and teach good oral care habits right from the start.

When Should a Child First See a Dentist?

The American Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and Smiles and Grins doctors recommend a child's first dental visit by 12 months old or when the first tooth erupts. 

There are many good reasons for infants and toddlers to see a pediatric dentist:

Get Comfortable at the Dentist Early

An early first visit helps get your child accustomed to the dentist's office. We focus on making it a calm, pleasant environment with no uncomfortable procedures. Our kid-friendly decorations and caring staff help children feel at ease. 

This positive first impression is key to reducing potential anxiety about dental visits as your child grows.

Learn Proper Care and Hygiene

Our pediatric dentists use the first visit to demonstrate proper brushing and flossing techniques suited for toddlers and infants. 

We explain good oral hygiene habits you can practice at home to keep new teeth strong and healthy. Brushing twice a day and regular flossing is important even with baby teeth to prevent tooth decay. Starting proper techniques early is vital to promoting lifelong dental health.

Monitor Tooth Development

Baby teeth serve an important developmental purpose beyond just chewing. We monitor infant tooth growth and development closely at the first visit to ensure proper spacing and alignment, which helps permanent adult teeth come in correctly later. 

Any issues with crowding, occlusion, or emerging teeth can be identified early and monitored over subsequent visits.

Identify Potential Problems

Pediatric dentists can detect subtle issues with emerging and developing teeth, jaws, and bite that parents may overlook. For example, teeth growing in crookedly, abnormal spacing, or improper jaw alignment. 

Early intervention may prevent more significant tooth or orthodontic problems requiring extensive treatment later. An early start to dental visits allows for ongoing observation.

First Dental Visit FAQs

Many parents have questions about their child's first trip to the dentist. Smiles and Grins' pediatric experts have answers to the common questions:

What procedures happen at the first visit?

We focus our infant exam on a gentle, noninvasive introduction to the dentist's office. Your baby stays right with you the whole time for comfort and security while our doctors do a quick visual inspection of the teeth and gums. 

There are no uncomfortable pokes, prods, or procedures that could cause anxiety. We want your baby's first impression to be a happy one!

What if no teeth have erupted yet?

No problem! We still highly recommend scheduling an appointment before age one even if teeth haven't broken through the gums yet. This early visit sets the stage for comfort and familiarity down the road as permanent teeth start coming in. 

We also closely inspect the gums and jaw/bite alignment for early signs of potential orthodontic issues. No emerging teeth just means we focus more on these developmental benchmarks during the visit.

Are x-rays done the first visit?

X-rays are not needed at most initial preventive care baby dental appointments. We only use imaging if there are particular dental concerns requiring further investigation for proper diagnosis and treatment. 

Rest assured we have digital x-ray equipment designed for infants/children if ever needed, reducing radiation exposure risk compared to conventional systems. But our dentists can discern the most important information through a visual exam.

Does insurance cover first visits?

Yes! Preventive and diagnostic pediatric dental care is covered under most dental insurance plans. The Smiles and Grins administrative team even helps file the claims paperwork and obtain proper authorizations if required by your insurer in advance of the visit. 

We encourage calling our billing office beforehand to determine your exact policy's coverage details for pediatric services. Many plans include two free visits per year.

Book at Smiles and Grins Today!

We hope this expanded information on first dental visits helps provide the details you need to make an informed decision for your child's oral health. Please reach out with any other questions - we look forward to seeing your little one!

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